Monday, June 29, 2015

Hugo Listening - Fancast

I am completely a visual learner. I have a lot of trouble sitting still and listening to people unless I'm taking notes, like I do at meetings. I don't enjoy podcasts unless I'm doing something else while I'm listening, and I'm usually too busy to download a podcast and get it set up for times when I could listen to them. So, while I know what I like, I don't listen to much. Working through these looked to be a challenge... and I fear I may give the shorter ones higher consideration because the length spares me. That said, in I go...

  • Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman
    It certainly started out very nicely with a Doctor Who reference. The whimsy of having this podcast set up as a visit to a magical tea room makes for a little bit of interesting nonsense, whether the guest is crazy or not. In the sample episode (26:58), Ramez Naam visits the secret tea lair and talks about Microsoft and science. The chickens clucking softly in the background was hardly distracting, but there was something very odd about them singing "O Fortuna". The hostess had some good questions prepared, and included questions from Twitter. Overall, it was charming and cute. The length was just about enough without going on and on. Visit the Tea and Jeopardy website to have a listen.
  • Dungeon Crawlers Radio, Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)
    The sound quality on this sample episode (1:56:33) one was miserable. I turned it up as loud as I could and still couldn't hear all the people on the 'cast. The intro of the show's subject didn't happen until 5 minutes in, and a lot of what came before was incomprehensible crosstalk. It eventually managed to sort out into a conversation instead of a mess, and it became clear it's a live streaming show. But I couldn't help feeling like I was sitting the next table over from the cool kids, listening in on a private chat with tons of in-jokes. The audio broke up a couple of times during the 'cast, which was annoying, but part of the nature of the beast, I guess. There was some music, not my cuppa. The interviews were fine, just not really of interest to me in particular. Overall, it was a fairly normal podcast with sound problems. Nothing award-worthy... I've heard better. Check them out for yourself at Dungeon Crawlers Radio.
  • The Sci Phi Show, Jason Rennie
    This is the shortest podcast of the bunch (11:27), so I figured it would be the best for me. However... it's just a guy talking about philosophy with some intermittent sound effects; in the sample episode he punctuates his talking with an extremely repetitive clip of deep laughter. At one point he gets interesting when he talks about the Batman movie, but mostly this is a fairly boring 'cast with some ideas that would be just as interesting and a bit less cheesy written down (like in the transcript, something I like). It does not take advantage of the medium. Not a podcast worthy of a Hugo, although some people will no doubt like it. Go check out the website to judge for yourself.
  • Adventures in SciFi Publishing, Brent Bower (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers)
    The sample podcast is about 50 minutes long (52:34), and features a single long interview with Jennifer Marie Brissett regarding her first novel, Elysium as well as how her career ran, including some interesting advice on her bookstore. The interview was well-conducted and the discussion was good. The sound quality was poor at times, but that's clearly due to the guest's microphone... and there's not a lot that can be done about it. There was an ad in the middle of the 'cast for an unrelated book, which I found only mildly irritating. There was also a "framing" bit from the "studio" that covered recent books with quick reviews/mentions. Most of that content was at the end, and a good way to wrap it up. Personally, it was about a half hour too long for my tastes, but otherwise I had no problem with it and actually quite enjoyed it. Hugo worthy? Yes, I think so.
  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
    This is an Australian podcast, and the accents in the sample episode are delightful from the start for me. It's one of the longer ones, coming in at 1:41:20. There appear to be three main hosts (presenters) who are funny and fairly distinct. I can't don't believe this is a puppy nominee because Gamergate comes up within the first 10 minutes and not in a good way. Sound quality is average, and it's definitely a few people playing off each other in a way that takes advantage of the format of audio. There are discussions, con reports, reviews and even a little fundraiser. The conversation is good, Doctor Who and Aquaman are mentioned, hitting my favorite fandoms. My only problem with it is the length, which is far too long for me. I'm not sure that's a valid reason to take a point off, but I probably will rank it a little lower because of it, sorry.
Of these choices, Tea and Jeopardy is definitely the best. It takes full advantage of the format, uses sound effects to improve the atmosphere and has whimsy that appeals to me. The interview was well-conducted, and the questions were perceptive and enlightening. It's also short enough to listen to but not so long I start to think, just get on with it already! Next up, despite the length, is Galactic Suburbia, which is information-filled and fun. The trio clearly love what they are talking about and range far and wide on a variety of subjects while still pulling in the audience. I find the length problematic, but the diversity of subjects makes up for it. Adventures in SciFi Publishing is the third place winner, and the last to make the ballot for me. It's a polished production, but went on just slightly too long on a single subject.

The next best is Dungeon Crawlers Radio, which is average but not great. I do wonder if there is a better example than the one in the sample, but due to the length, I can't be bothered to listen and find out. At the bottom is the Sci Phi Show, which really didn't take advantage of the audio format at all. The cheesy laughter sound effect detracted, rather than enhanced. If that was the best available, the podcast doesn't deserve an award.


Just as a reminder, you can go to Renay's Hugo Spreadsheet of Doom or the Hugo Nominees 2016 Wikia to look for works that will eligible for a Hugo in 2016 so you can read them for possible nomination. Both the spreadsheet and wiki allow submissions, as well, so add your own favorites to get them a little more widespread attention.

Glenn Hauman hurt me with this parody. I laughed so hard I snarfed some water up my nose and it hurt a bit. Now, I'd never read the original If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love, but now that I have, I can understand why some people thought it was Hugo-worthy. There's an intensity there that shallow people could never comprehend. Yes, it's a silly title, but there's so much more to it.


lauredhel said...

I'm not sure where you read that Galactic Suburbia is a puppy nominee - it is most decidedly not!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Tegan said...

Actually, I didn't know which, or if any, were puppy nominees when I wrote that. My comment was meant to say that I doubted it was a puppy nominee, not that I thought it was and couldn't believe it. My apologies for the clumsy writing.

lauredhel said...

That makes so much more sense! :)